glasses filled with alcoholic beverages on a counter

Alcohol consumption in Europe decreased by half a liter per person between 2010 and 2020: however, according to ‘Euronews’, there are countries where the average increased in the period under analysis.

Portugal was one of the cases in which the average fell. “No level of alcohol consumption is safe for our Health,” warned the World Health Organization (who). Despite the warnings, the amount of alcohol consumed by Europeans remains significant.

Many people stop drinking alcohol in January, in what is already known as” Dry January “ – the trend has been replicated at European level, where there has been a decline in alcohol consumption, but this has been slowing since the 2000s.

So how has alcohol consumption changed in Europe in recent decades? And which countries have stood out the most in decreasing or increasing this consumption?

Global alcohol consumption is defined as the annual sale of pure alcohol, in litres, per person aged 15 years and over. Alcoholic beverages are converted to pure alcohol – the data does not include unregistered alcohol consumption, such as domestic or illegal production. The study was conducted in the WHO European region, which covers 53 countries, including Russia and neighboring countries.

In Europe, overall alcohol consumption per person aged 15 years and over has decreased by 2.9 litres over the past four decades, from 12.7 litres in 1980 to 9.8 litres in 2020, which corresponds to a decrease of 23% – there was a significant reduction in consumption between 1980 (12.7 litres) and 2000 (10.5 litres).

However, the quantity and rate of decline slowed over the next two decades: between 2010 and 2020 there was only a 0.5 litre drop in the EU. Despite the reduction, the WHO European region continues to record the highest level of alcohol consumption per person in the world.

Annually, every person aged 15 and over drinks on average 9.5 liters of pure alcohol: this is equivalent to 190 liters of beer, 80 liters of wine or 24 liters of spirits.

And in Portugal?

Consumption has fallen in the last decade: it has gone from 11.3 to 10.4 liters, still higher than the European average of 27 (9.8 liters) – the country occupies the 11th position among the countries analyzed. In 2020, annual alcohol consumption ranged from 1.2 liters in Turkey to 12.1 liters in Latvia, among 36 European countries, including the EU, the United Kingdom, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and EU candidate countries.

Germany (10.6 litres) had the highest alcohol consumption among the EU’s “Big Four” in terms of economy and population, followed by France (10.4 litres), Spain (7.8 litres) and Italy (7.7 litres). In the UK, consumption was 9.7 litres.

Looking at changes at the national level between 2010 and 2020, alcohol consumption decreased in 25 countries and increased in 11 countries.

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